The founder of early crypto adopting online retailer Overstock is confident about the potential of blockchain technology. He is so optimistic, in fact, that he plans to sell his commanding stake in the firm’s retail wing to explore its blockchain venture division, Medici Ventures.
Bryne Bets Big on Blockchain
Despite the 2018 crypto bear market seriously taking its toll on Overstock.com, its founder, Partick Byrne, is still more than a little bullish on the technology underpinning digital assets: blockchain.
Byrne, and by extension Overstock, have long been tied to crypto and blockchain technology. The retailer was one of the first big names to accept Bitcoin in 2014. Since then, the founder and CEO of the retail firm has been vocal about the possibilities of both digital currency and its underlying tech.
Most recently, Bryne has stated that he very much feels the widespread use of a decentralised, stateless cash will be part of humanity’s future.
For Bryne, however, the true opportunity is not to be found in online retail, even those paid for with Bitcoin.
Instead, it is far more likely to lie in one of the 12 and counting blockchain startups currently receiving funding from Medici Ventures. That is why he has decided to sell his 20.2% commanding share in the firm to undisclosed interest. The deal is expected to be wrapped up as early as February, 2019.
From Furnishing to Fintech…
Medici Ventures Inc. has so far been the recipient of a massive $175 million from its parent company. It houses several startups focused on, as diverse a range of interests as, a Rwandan government property-rights platform to Voatz, the somewhat controversial West Virginia overseas citizen blockchain voting pilot.
Perhaps the crowing jewel in the Medici crown is an exchange platform known as tZero, which has already been over three years in the making. Naturally, such development doesn’t come cheap and the venture is costing the Medici and Overstock millions per month.
tZero is expected to be a platform that will allow the exchange of a variety of various assets in an efficient and transparent fashion. It would start off with the increasingly popularity of security tokens and also develop a system of tracking equities borrowed by market shorters.
Byrne commented on the financial drain the tZero platform has been for Overstock in a report by the Wall Street Journal:
“I don’t care whether tZero is losing $2 million a month… We think we’ve got cold fusion on the blockchain side.”
It is for the best that Byrne does not care about the recent financial shortcomings of Overstock. Medici lost the company $39 million of their total $163.7 million in losses recorded during the first three quarters of 2018. However, the CEO and founder has his eyes on far greater things:
“Being the guy who pedals along and makes $10 to $20 million a year wasn’t sustainable… We have maybe several multibillion-dollar properties in there.”
The share value of Overstock has also had a bumpy ride since its fortunes seem to be linked to those of the crypto market in general.
Last year, stock at the company ran up from $15 in the summer to $87 at the height of last year’s speculative mania. Since then, like the market capitalisation of all digital assets, it has plummeted to its current price of around $17.
Related Reading: Crypto Correction Hurts Investors in Overstock, Square, and Others
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